Those hitting Valve's Steam website today will find a surprising announcement on the front page:
Prey will be available Thursday, November 30 on Steam for $49.95. Previous purchasers of the retail or downloaded editions of Prey can activate a copy on Steam at no cost by using their existing product key.Indeed, the publishers of Prey, the sci-fi first-person shooter that took over ten years to go from the drawing board to store shelves, have hooked up with Valve to allow the game to be sold and distributed online through Steam. Prey originally appeared on Triton, a rival online game distribution system. However, Triton's parent company went out of business and the service disappeared in early October.
Despite the switch, Scott Miller of 3D Realms—one of the companies behind the game—has lukewarm feelings about the service. In an interview with Gamasutra yesterday, he stated:
I’m not a big fan of using Steam, because I’m not a fan of a strong competitor of ours having access to our download stats and revenue totals. I’d rather keep that private. Not only that, but we’re lining their pockets as well.Miller does have a point, but the conflict of interest he mentions doesn't seem to have bothered some other major game publishers. Activision, for one, recently released Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, and Gun via Steam. Ubisoft also surrendered Dark Messiah of Might & Magic to Valve's service a month ago. Thanks to Blue's News for the tip.
I’d love to see Steam spin off as their own company. That would be a smart move. That removes the conflict of interest issue and it would give Steam focus as a separate company. Since they’re buried in Valve, if Valve doesn’t do well for a game or two, Steam will get cut before their internal game development. They have to consider Steam secondary. I don’t know why they hang on to Steam as an internal thing. They’d probably rule the game industry if they did. A truly independent company is going to come along, and I know of a couple of start-ups. I think one of these companies will emerge as the product leader and they should be able to take Steam’s spot.
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